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August 6.—A relation of mine told me to-day that I was like a "fish out of water." I thought the proverb somewhat applicable, or I should not ne>w repeat it. I am in one sense, like an unfortunate fish ;—I am perpetually gasping—not for water—but for information! I gaze and gape continually, hut cannot find sufficient to supply my wants. I catch at, and obtain a few vagrant flies, but they often escape -me, and then the -stream is so shallow, the current so weak, and there are so many impediments in the narrow creeks and channels, which I must pass, that I 'm absolutely gravelled before I can make my way into the broad river whither my desires lead me. But it is useless to complain, I must wait the coming of fortunate winds and .tides, before I reach the depths of experience, and the wide ocean of real knowledge.
August 12.—I was taking a walk last night, for I prefer the four hours at the close of the day to the other four-and-twenty. What can be more refreshing, or afford greater delight, than a rural walk of this kind, after the bustle and fatigue of a summer's day ?" Eternal fountain of our feelings! 'tis now I trace thee!" As I was returning homeward through the village, I passed the cottage of an old cobbler. He wore his spectacles, (which being rather too small for him, pinched his nose pretty tightly, and increased his natural snuffle !) He was reading loud and sentimentally. I found that this old cobbler possessed high notions, delicate feelings, and a florid, fine-spun, fancy-woven imagination! I listened-for a few seconds: "It is a Very pretty story," said his wife. "It is something like the "Death of Abel," said the cobbler; and then he proceeded with the thread of his story, and began to wax quite warm with it. It was an old tale in a very old magazine: a tale of wonder! and wonderfully pathetic! "Why don't you go on with the story 1" said Mrs. Heelpiece: "I will my dear!" said the cobbler. "But let me snuff the candle! where's my daughter Matilda?" "Here father, I am coming directly." "Coming! don't you hear the child crying? rock the cradle, Hussy! Here, take my leathern apron and wipe its nose!" "I want to finish this pretty story," said the cobbler." "Ay, do," said Mrs. Heelpiece, "It is ▼cry fine ! very tender!" "Tender !" exclaimed the old cobbler," why it be as tender as lamb's skin, and as beautiful as red morocco!" Mr. Heelpiece began to read: his wife was so much moved by the story, that she shed tears. The infant awoke and began to squall. The cobbler damned Matilda for not rocking the cradle. I laughed at their pathetics, marched onward and left them all at loggerheads together!
This story is truth; and truth gives force even to trifles.
August 14.—It has been observed by foreigners that Englishmen, when they meet each other, are remarkable for talking about the weather. In a climate so changeable as ours it is not much to be wondered at. But it is rather curious to observe how small a number of set phrases are used on such occasions. This has been a very unpleasant day, and as often as I have crossed the door into the street, "How it rains!" said one: "Quite a wet day!" said another: "Very dirty and slippery!" said a third.—Then if you entered a neighbour's house, " What heavy shower* we have had !"—" I was in hopes it was clearing up about noon!" '' No, no, we shall have more yet!" "Observe the quarter the wind's in !"—"Ay, southwest!" " We shall have a whole week of such weather!" "Do jou think so?" "I do ! "—"So do 1!"—"Look at yonder dark clouds !"—" Very black indeed !"—"Oh it will certainly Kain!"—"Ah! —Zounds! it does rain !"—"Nay it pours!" "Let us go in directly 1"— Thus people talk, and thus they run for shelter!!
August 24.—There is scarcely any person but prides himself on something or other: we are all at times subject to some degree of vanity. Enough has been said about the " Love of fame" amongst men, and the" Love of conquest" among women. These have been considered with reference to the higher ranks of society; but it is much the same with the other grades. I knew a farmer who prided himself on the size of his fist! another on the breadth of his foot! and another on the width of his mouth! This last fellow injured his jaw-bone by trying to force between his teeth the egg of a goose.
The likings and dislikings of the different ranks of society, are much the same, only the objects are varied. A peasant is often as pleased with a game of ninepins, as a poet with his nine muses: and a hungry ploughman will as greedily devour a piece of plumbcake, as a poet-laureate will swallow his cup of sack!
August 25.—1 yesterday noticed the different humours of one sex, I will now make a few remarks on
those oi the other. Even women, in the lower ranks of life, are not totally insensible to the allurements of Fame! A few days ago I heard some females singing while at work in the fields, and this was the burden of their song:
"Come all yon lads and lasses; together let ns go
Much cannot be said in favor of the poetry of the two preceding lines, yet the 'for to' may be useful to eke out the metre; and the 'valour' ought to be considered very emphatic! for certainly there is more utility and more real glory in cutting and safely housing a field of ripe corn, lhan in mowing down men, and leaving them mangled or dead on the field of battle. At least, such is my opinion: but, I confess, it may be thought a very unfashionable one! However, 1 am not without hopes, that, in future, lambs may be thought less dangerous than lions! and that more merit may be descried in gracefully sheathing a sword, than there could be in gracelessly drawing it. Valour is good, but vapour is worthless!!
It has been my fate to be acquainted with many persons and parties of very different opinions, and sometimes of opposing interests: I think that this has been of service, by teaching me to appreciate the value of their opinions, interests and prejudices. Speaking in a general way, I have usually found that, in one thing or other, all parties are alike to blame; and that those who are the most moderate, have, nine times in ten, the most justice on their side. Where deserving people are under the influence of mistake, it is the duty of all real friends to remove the existing differences.
It is truly astonishing and would surprise any one who never made the trial,—how speedily a few brief sentences, or explanatory observations in favor of an absent party, may tend, if judiciously applied, to remove impressions that would otherwise be irreconcilable. On the other hand it must be obvious to every observer that, by giving an envious or ill-natured turn to sentences casually spoken, or by a studious endeavour to fan any accidental spark of displeasure, into a flame of absolute dislike, small disputes may be aggravated to great offences; such conduct is always blameable, and what every man of good breeding, with good sense and a good heart, will always be studious to avoid; he would rather be most anxious and most happy to draw friends closer [together, by stronger tUs of esteem, than to keep them wider apart by inflaming their casual differences into quarrels.
August 31.—Everybody knows that we have a comedy, called "The Wonder—A Woman keeps a Secret!" It is very true; and it should be thought a miracle when a man keeps one! ft may at first be imagined an easy matter, but keeping a secret is more difficult than many conceiv* it to be. Women are joked on this subjeet, as being the most prone to tattle; but, though it may pass as a joke, yet as far as regards the sexes, there is not much difference between them. Women, where they truly love, are the most confiding; therefore, when they confide their secrets to the object of their